Aircraft Carrier USS Abraham Lincoln Serves as Location for Top Gun’ Sequel

Aircraft Carrier USS Abraham Lincoln Serves as Location for Top Gun' Sequel


Aircraft Carrier USS Abraham Lincoln Serves as Location for Top Gun’ Sequel

Contributed by Debbie Gregory

“Top Gun: Maverick,” the sequel to the 1986 Hollywood blockbuster “Top Gun,” is working to fulfill the need for speed aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.

According to service spokesperson Lt. Cdr. Daniel Day, the Navy is supporting one shoot aboard USS Abraham Lincoln, per a Production Assistance Agreement signed by Paramount Pictures and the Department of Defense.

“Our priority will always be war-fighting, and training combat-ready Naval aviation forces … That being said, we believe we can support the film and simultaneously achieve training objectives,” Day said.

The crew is shooting footage on the flight deck of air operations, which will likely pair the Navy’s new Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters alongside older Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets from Virginia Beach-based Carrier Air Wing Seven, taking off and landing as part of their carrier qualifications. Paramount will reimburse the Navy for any costs associated with flying sequences that do not meet training objective.

“This opportunity is one of many aircraft carrier embarks planned pier-side and at sea on both coasts coordinated by the Commander, Naval Air Forces,” said Naval Air Force Atlantic spokesman Cmdr. Dave Hecht.

The sequel has Tom Cruise reprising his role as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell and Val Kilmer back as Tom “Iceman” Kazansky. Miles Teller is playing the son of Maverick’s best friend, Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, who was killed in the original film during a training accident.

Rounding out the cast is Jennifer Connolly, Glen Powell, Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, Lewis Pullman, Charles Parnell, Bashir Salahuddin, Monica Barbaro, Danny Ramirez, and Jay Ellis.

Movie producer John Davis claimed that Top Gun was a recruiting video for the Navy, that people saw the movie and said, “Wow! I want to be a pilot.” After the film’s release, the US Navy stated that the number of young men who joined wanting to be Naval Aviators went up by 500 percent.

The sequel had a tentative release date of July 2019 but now appears likely to hit theaters in June 2020… 34 years after the original movie made its debut.

National Park Service Grant Funds Films About WWII-Era Japanese-American Confinement Sites

National Park Service Grant Funds Films About WWII-Era Japanese-American Confinement Sites

National Park Service Grant Funds Films About WWII-Era Japanese-American Confinement Sites


By Debbie Gregory.

Full Spectrum Features, a Chicago-based non-profit film company that aims to educate the public about important social and cultural issues via the power of cinema, has received a grant to make two short films about the history of Japanese-American World War II incarceration that followed in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

The project is funded by the National Park Service, which recently awarded nine grants of more than $1.3 million to projects that help preserve and interpret World II Japanese-American Confinement sites.

In 1942, almost 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced from their homes in California, western Oregon and Washington, and southern Arizona in the single largest forced relocation in U.S. history.

Many would spend the next 3 years in one of ten “relocation centers” across the country.

The scripted films will focus on the resettlement and draft resistance of Japanese Americans.

“We think it’s important to have dramatic narrative scripted films about this history because Hollywood doesn’t make World War II films that feature Asian-Americans as the protagonists,” said Eugene Sun Park, Full Spectrum’s executive director.

The filmmakers are working with the Heart Mountain Foundation in Wyoming. Established in 1996, the foundation has worked to preserve and memorialize the site and events, educate the general public about the Japanese American incarceration and support research about the incarceration so that future generations can understand the lessons of the Japanese American incarceration experience. The site of the Heart Mountain War Relocation Center is considered to retain the highest integrity of the ten incarceration centers constructed during the war.

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt stated towards war end “to undo a mistake is always harder than not to create one originally but we seldom have the foresight. …every citizen in this country has a right to our basic freedoms, to justice and to equality of opportunity.”

In 1988 and 1992 Congress passed laws to apologize to Japanese Americans for the injustices during the war and to pay compensation to survivors of the camps and their descendants.


Letters from Hollywood: J.K. Simmons

J.K. Simmons played J. Jonah Jameson in the blockbuster SPIDERMAN movies and Mac MacGuff in the hit indie film JUNO. On television he appeared for several seasons on LAW AND ORDER and OZ. He currently stars as Assistant Chief Will Pope on THE CLOSER and keeps America laughing with the popular Farmer’s Insurance commercials.

J.K. SimmonsTroops,

I never served in the military. Closest I ever came was appearing in A Few Good Men on Broadway in 1990. I played a couple of different grunts in the show and understudied the Lt. Col. Nathan Jessep character. I’m pretty sure they only hired me because I was a kickass shortstop in the Broadway Show Softball League.

Anyway, I did get a chance to play Lt. Col. Jessep a few times, and I gotta say it was one of my greatest acting jobs ever, because the character was pretty much the ultimate hard-ass Marine and in real life I’m a total pussy.

I have no concept of what you guys are going through over there. No matter how many stories I hear or how many vets I talk to, it just makes me realize more completely that I don’t really get it and I definitely don’t have what it takes to be doing what you’re doing. I think most people I know don’t have what it takes.

I am glad you do have what it takes. I appreciate your sacrifice, your training, your courage, your dedication, your patience, your balls.

Hang in there. Take care of each other and come home safe.

Thank you,
J K Simmons

Letters from Hollywood: Ross McCall

Ross McCall starred in the award-winning miniseries “BAND OF BROTHERS.” He also played Officer Kenny Battaglia for two seasons on the television series “CRASH” and is currently appearing on USA Network’s “WHITE COLLAR.”

To my brothers and sisters in the military,

As a proud Scotsman gratefully living in the United States, a country I love, I humbly bow to you all and your efforts for keeping us safe in the world we live.

I am a devoted supporter of the military after proudly playing Cpl. Joseph Liebgott from Easy Company, 2nd Battalion of the 506th, 101st Airborne, in the “Band of Brothers.” Through him and his brave brothers and sisters by his side, I became part of a family. I continue to travel the States and beyond, raising awareness for our wounded warriors and those, like yourselves, who bring us safety and comfort not only here in America but also throughout Europe and my homeland.

I cannot thank you all enough. Your courage. Your passion. Your devotion to let others live in a world without fear is a testament to your heroism. You are a special group that can only be described as extraordinary. To commit your lives, and those of your family, to the continued march toward peace, is beyond gracious and kind. It will never be forgotten.

Our thanks is united. Our support is unshakable. It is a privilege to communicate with you all in the ways that we get to do. I have been blessed to have spent time with many of you and look forward to doing it some more. Until then: be well, stand tall and God bless.

With a bow and respect, my humblest thanks.

Ross McCall

Letter from Hollywood – Tom Sherak

Tom Sherak – whose remarkable career has seen him at the pinnacle of motion picture marketing, distribution and production – now serves as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization most recognized for awarding the Oscars. Previously, he was a partner at Revolution Studios, chairman of Twentieth Century Fox Domestic Film Group and consultant for Marvel Studios.

To the brave men and women who protect our country:

We enjoy an incredible standard of living in the United States, and in Hollywood, as a direct result of your hard work and sacrifice. You volunteer so much of yourselves to protect our way of life and freedom. I wanted to write to tell you it does not go unrecognized or unappreciated.
In 1967, I had the privilege of serving in the armed forces during the Vietnam War. I truly understand what it means to be away from your family and friends in service to a bigger cause. That is why I say to the spouses and children of our troops: thank you for the sacrifice you make on a daily basis.

I have worked with many retired members of the military who now consult with such care and expertise as advisors on our films, and I am continually impressed with their personal and professional standards of excellence.

From my family to yours, thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for your courage, your strength and your selflessness. Though words are insufficient, they are truly heartfelt. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, and we wish you a blessed tour of duty, and a safe return home to your loved ones. Thank you for all that you do.


Tom Sherak

Letter from Hollywood – Bonnie-Jill Laflin

A huge supporter of the troops, Bonnie-Jill Laflin is the first and only female scout in the NBA, working for the Los Angeles Lakers. She’s a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader and past ESPN Sports broadcaster. She’s earned five NBA championship rings and one Super Bowl Ring. And she’s been named by both FHM and MAXIM magazines to their annual “Sexiest Women” lists.

To all my Heroes,

I have spent my entire career in the sports and entertainment industries, working with world-renowned athletes and celebrities. To me, however, those who serve our country and sacrifice so much of themselves to ensure we enjoy our freedom are the true heroes. Supporting our troops is a personal mission for me; both my grandfathers, who served in World War II, and my uncle, who served in Vietnam, are decorated veterans (Silver Star and Purple Heart). I’ve been on 17 USO/Goodwill tours and visited our veterans/wounded warriors in hospitals. Each and every time I felt so honored and humbled to be in the presence of the heroic and courageous character of each and every one of you.

You are all in my thoughts and prayers each and every day, and I love you all.

God bless our troops!
Bonnie-Jill Laflin

Letter from Hollywood – Daniel Dae Kim

Daniel Dae Kim is an accomplished actor who played Jin Kwon for all six seasons of LOST on ABC. Currently starring in HAWAII 5-0, his many credits also include stints on ER and 24.

To our loyal troops serving at home and around the world:

I wanted to take a moment to send to you a heartfelt message letting you know how much I appreciate your sacrifice on behalf of our country.

No matter what your politics, religion, race, or creed, one thing I’m completely sure of is that the men and women who defend our country deserve nothing less than 100 percent of our support. You make our country proud; you make me proud to be a fellow American.

So as you read this – many of you missing your homes and loved ones as you risk your well-being – please know that there is a nation of Americans who remain eternally grateful for every sacrifice you make on our behalf.

With gratitude and respect,


Letters from Hollywood – Gary Sinise

One of America’s finest actors, Gary Sinise was nominated for an Oscar for FORREST GUMP.  His other films include APOLLO 13, GEORGE WALLACE and OF MICE AND MEN.  He currently stars on CSI NY and is a tireless supporter of our Troops.

To all who serve our great country,

As the current conflict rages on, and you continue to answer our nation’s call, I want you to know how very grateful I am for all you do.  This is our country, and throughout our history the freedom that we all share as Americans has been earned, and paid for, and sacrificed for by a courageous few.  You are the defenders of freedom throughout the world. The majority of us sleep soundly in the comfort of our homes at night, while a very, very small percentage stand watch around the globe, making sure that all Americans can continue to enjoy the liberty and freedom we have grown so accustomed to.  Whether you are on the front pages of our newspapers or not, you still continue to do difficult and dangerous work in dangerous environments and you do so voluntarily.

As I have traveled to visit our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, The United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, Guantanamo Bay, and all around the US, over and over again I have been awed by the men and women serving our country.  And while we can never do enough for our veterans and active duty service members, we can always try to do a little bit more to show our gratitude.  It is you, after all, who make it possible for us to go about our daily lives in peace and security here at home.  From our Vietnam days of turning our backs on our veterans, we learned that no matter whether we as a nation believe in the mission the government has set upon our military or not, our country’s service members are to be supported and cared for and thanked for all they do to serve our country.  And we, as citizens of the country you defend, can pick up the slack where the government leaves off.  We can serve those who serve for us.  And, there are many who are trying their best to give back to you.  I have lent a hand to dozens of grassroots organizations started by people who just simply want to help our troops and want to make sure you know that you are appreciated.  One such organization is Operation International Children. It is a program that I started with author Laura Hillenbrand after my second trip to Iraq back in November of 2003 in order to support the troops from home by sending school supplies and other items for them to pass out to the children.  We now also ship to our troops in Afghanistan, the Philippines and Djibouti, our mission being to Help Soldiers Help Children.

For many years, I have also had the amazing opportunity to support and entertain our troops overseas and here in the states with my band, The LT Dan Band.  In 2003 I began what has been a remarkable and rewarding association with the United Service Organization, the USO, in service to our active duty service members.  It’s a way to say Thank You and to help keep spirits high.  To serve those who serve us, and to give back something to our military families, has been among the most rewarding and fulfilling things that I have done in my life.

It just simply feels that we, as Americans, are all in this together.  This is our country.  Someone has to do the difficult and dangerous work of fighting for it.  Like many, I was hit with a dose of reality when I watched those planes crash into those buildings, piloted by fanatics armed only with box cutters.  God help us if this fanatical enemy were to ever get hold of more dangerous weapons.

And it is you, our war fighters, who are doing all you can to make sure it does not happen again. We are so fortunate to have people whose calling it is to dedicate themselves to military service.  Imagine a war, when only the other side showed up.  What would we, as a nation, do without men and women willing to stand on the fronts lines and defend our freedom and our way of life? Would we even have that way of life?  Or would we have someone else’s, imposed upon us?  So, thank you, to all of you who give so much. We all are in your debt.

President Calvin Coolidge said, “A nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.”  I hope these “Letters from Hollywood” will help to let you know that your nation has not forgotten.

God bless you all, for all you do to keep this country, and all its citizens, free.

Your very grateful American friend,

Gary Sinise

Letters from Hollywood – Ted Nugent

Legendary Rocker Ted Nugent’s classic albums include “CAT SCRATCH FEVER,” “SPIRIT OF THE WILD” and of course “TED NUGENT”.  Now a bestselling author as well, his latest book “TED, WHITE AND BLUE” is out in paperback.

Dear Troops:

As Americans living the uniquely wonderful American Dream to its fullest, the Nugent family wishes to xpress our deepest appreciation to the Warriors of Freedom, the heroes of the U.S. Military, for being the greatest soldiers in the history of the world. Your courageous sacrifices to dog the evil voodoo monsters over there, so we don’t have to fight them over here, is the grandest display of good over evil any person could hope for.

We who understand the price of liberty salute you all, and wish you Godspeed, victory and a safe return to your families and your own American Dream.   God bless you all.

Thank you American Blood Brothers,

Ted Nugent and family

Letters from Hollywood – Kenny Albert

Kenny Albert does play-by-play for FOX Sports broadcasts of the National Football League and Major League Baseball.  On the MSG Network he does television for the New York Knicks and radio for the New York Rangers.

To all of the men and women serving our country:

Thank you so much for everything that you do.   I hope you all realize how much your fellow Americans appreciate all of the sacrifices that you make, and the time you spend away from your family and friends.  My best wishes to you during the upcoming holiday season.